Testimonials: What some of our customers have said about thier Cotinga Tours experience.
“Jill and I are now back in England, where the weather is somewhat different from that which we experienced in Costa Rica!
We had a truly fantastic holiday and enjoyed every minute, so thanks to everyone at Cotinga who made it possible. We’ve taken tours with quite a few companies but this was exceptional. Frankly, it has spoilt us for the future.
The guiding, the transportation and the accommodation were all a pleasure. Paco is outstandingly good at what he does. He’s an absolute genius at spotting and identifying the birds and other wildlife, and also the fastest person with a ‘scope we’ve ever seen. He’s also intelligent, enthusiastic , communicative and patient, as well as being a very amiable and considerate companion, as indeed was Carlos. Nothing was too much trouble for them. They ensured the group’s logistics were under control at all times whilst at the same time retaining flexibility over the itinerary. The transportation was modern, well maintained and roomy and Carlos was modest and charming , as well as being a good driver and an excellent bird spotter in his own right. The hotels were all good and well - chosen and the pace of the tour was sensible, with time during the very hottest part of the day to relax a bit. Despite this, we still managed to see 321 species of bird, as well as various mammals, insects and reptiles and countless flowers and trees. Costa Rica really is a nature lover’s delight and we can’t see how Cotinga’s arrangements for experiencing it could be bettered.” - Jill & Trevor Blythe, Southern Sensations
“You had asked me to let you know how my trip went so here you go. It was wonderful! Paco is just the best guide ever. He sets a perfect pace - not so much that you’re rushed off of your feet but just the perfect amount of watching versus downtime that you can just enjoy every minute. His knowledge of birds, mammals, etc is simply amazing plus he’s just delightful to be around - he’s funny, enthusiastic and always upbeat. The accommodations were all lovely and the staff at each one of them was friendly and helpful. Carlos is a wonderful driver and birder! He adds so much to our trips and it’s a real pleasure having him with us.
Paco was saying that he’s looking at doing a tour in Panama and if so, please do keep me and Terry and Woody notified as we are all interested.
Thank you so much for getting my trip organized at the last minute, I’m so very glad that it worked out!” - Jean Brubeck, Southern Sensations
“Hi Marco, Heather and of course, Paco and Carlos,
THANKS so much for a wonderful time in Costa Rica!!!! Words can't explain the interesting times and great memories and stories that we will have for many years to come. This was our 1st out of the US birding trip and we felt that we were in very good hands throughout the whole planning, pre-tour, tour and even going back to the airport.
We have been telling everybody we know that should they need to go to CR for business or pleasure that they NEED to call YOU!!!!!” - Amon & Terry Hess
“I just wanted on behalf of Bill and myself to thank you very very much indeed for organizing such a brilliant trip. I know that it took you a lot of time and effort to put it all together for us and all your help was greatly appreciated.
I would be very grateful if you would pass on a very BIG thank you to Paco for enabling us to see such amazing birds/animals/insects and plants. He was so patient, kind and attentive to all our wishes and had such an amazing ability to conjure up even the rarest of birds i.e. the Quetzal not once but three times in an area where they are only sometimes seen. Although we had a good time at La Paloma we missed his skill, enthusiasm and extensive knowledge! We can’t wait to see his photographs as although Bill took thousands his lens just wasn’t big enough and many are dark dots! Please also pass on our thanks to Carlos for being such a careful and considerate driver-loading our heavy bags without grimacing and always smiling even though he must have been exhausted at the end of a long day driving and waiting!
Of course we must thank Marco for his input be it taking our money!
What an awesome team you make and I am sure you will keep it that way and not grow too big-the personal touch really counts for an awful lot in this world of passwords ID numbers etc!” - Honor Buck, Private Tour
“We just want to let everyone know that we thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. The tour was well organized and run, the lodges really nice, and the choice of places to visit allowed us to see a great variety of birdlife.
For us, the highlight of the tour was having Erick as our guide. He has an amazing knowledge of birds and other flora and fauna of the region. To our delight, Erick was able---seemingly out of nowhere!--- to find, quickly spot on his scope, and identify for us an amazing number of wonderful birds. He was also very patient with those of us who were not expert bird-watchers, and, as a result, we came away with a much better appreciation of the skills needed to best enjoy this wonderful activity. We noticed that other leaders of bird tours at the lodges often came to Erick for advice and help on issues of birds and other wildlife, and we felt particularly blessed to have the very best as our own guide!
We also give high marks and our gratitude to our driver Alberto Vargas who not only got us everywhere safely but also proved to be a masterful birder himself!” - Debby Delmer and John Hirst, Birding Highlights
“Once again many thanks for a truly excellent tour. The organization was faultless and once again I was mesmerized by your fantastic skills Paco. Linda and myself really enjoyed being with you and I know I echo the views of everyone on the trip. Carlos was also as brilliant as ever.” - Keith Offord (Owner, Wild Insights)
“A big thank you for a fantastic fortnight in Costa Rica, it exceeded all that I could have ever imagined. You showed us birds that would have remained " invisible" to the majority and your organization and hospitality made it a memorable trip. thanks also to Carlos in whose hands we all felt totally safe in spite of some of the driving conditions, and thanks to Costa Rica for maintaining the wealth of wildlife that is there.
I hope to see you at the Bird fair by which time the "snow" that we arrived home to will have gone but probably replaced by rain!” - Ron Foster, Southern Sensations
“Paco, you outdid yourself with our tour. Every single person enjoyed it to the hilt! They raved about the whole experience, and especially about YOU. You have great knowledge and your personality suits you for your profession - your enthusiasm is infectious. We laughed hard, learned a lot, and loved Costa Rica. All in all it was an ideal vacation. THANK YOU from the bottom or our hearts.” - Jane Dahmen, Private Nature Tour
“Just wanted to say thank you once again to Paco and Carlos for a fantastic
2 weeks in CR. I am amazed at the things Carlos can spot while driving, Paco's ability to impersonate every bird, and spot birds in the densest of forests. Paco's love for his country, his job and his attention to detail makes him a 1st class guide. The accommodations and food were also superb (despite the occasional loss of power!).
Please also give my thanks to Paco's friend who so kindly came out with us for the day to show us the Great Potoo.” - Anne McAskie, Southern Sensations
“Hope you are well, first of all i must say what a marvelous trip Ann and I had it was a holiday of a lifetime for which we thank you. We initially were disappointed not to be meeting Paco again, but your guide Erick was amazing his spotting ability and his vast knowledge of what we were seeing was incredible. Erick was seeing birds or animals that eight pair of eyes could not see till he shone his beam near them to highlight them. We must compliment you for using him as a guide. His knowledge of animals. plants, trees, and the history and geography of your country was second to none, anything he told us was always a very full explanation the whole of the group were very impressed. Erick is a credit and very good ambassador to your company.
We wish you all the very best and hope your business continues to flourish. Oh we almost forgot your driver Alberto, he is a credit to your business not only did he have a lovely sense of humor and very pleasing personality, but he was also a very good spotter.” - David & Ann Smith, Birding Highlights Tour
“Just wanted to tell you that I had an incredible time on my tour in February. It was a dream trip for me in many ways. Erik was a great guide. Other than Paco, I cant imagine having someone who is more skilled, experienced, tireless and personable. What a great addition to the Cotinga family. Erik was incredibly patient and generous particularly with my endless attempts at IDing the calls and songs we heard. I must have identified Clay-colored Robin as a dozen different more interesting birds before seeing it each time.
I know you don’t control the weather but it was spectacular and all the accommodations and food were excellent. Please thank Erik, Alberto and fellow who did my airport transfers (please tell him I made his mom's ceviche recipe last weekend and it came out great).” - Eric Molho, Southern Sensations Tour
“Erick Castro was a first class guide and an excellent birder. He had a good personality and got on very well with the group. He showed a lot of courtesy and patience and was always very helpful.” - Tom Gibbons (Trip Leader, Great Britain)
“Fantastic trip! All returned safely home to cold UK. A Big THANK YOU to all concerned for the most wonderful birding trip ever! I have led numerous tours around the world but this one was by far the best. The organization was outstanding, the sites and lodges superb and the leader Erik was extremely professional, affable and an outstanding field ornithologist.
Everybody in the group were thrilled by seeing over 400 species and enjoying the magnificent Costa Rican countryside.” - Derek Moore (Trip Leader, Great Britain) Private Tour
“It was good writing the trip report as it made me re-live the holiday which must be one of the best if not THE best I have lead. I really enjoyed it so thank you again for making it so good.” – Roy Atkins (trip leader: Speyside Wildlife, Great Britain) Life Birds Tour
“The tour went very well and everyone on the tour enjoyed it very much. As I have told Paco and Heather the success of the tours is due to the planning and scheduling that the three of you put into it. You are the best tour company that I have worked with in Costa Rica. Many thanks for all that you do to make it work so smoothly.” - Ken Wilson, (Owner of Talon Tours), Birds of Paradise Tour
“It seems hard to believe that 3 years has passed since I participated in the birding tour of Costa Rica! Since then I have had a chance to go out on tours by other companies and must take the time to tell you that, in comparison, your tour was magnificent. You provided the right combination of birding and travel at a pace that was enjoyable yet one that yielded a phenomenal number of birds. I appreciate that we often stayed 2 or 3 days at the same lodgings and often had relaxing time during the hottest part of the day where we could shower, work on our lists while the birds were fresh in our minds, and even do some butterflying! You have great patience and I appreciate that you took the time to explain the bird identifications.
In comparison, I have been on tours where the guides kept us out in the field from sun up to sun down just so that we could say that we got a high bird count. The pace was so fast that we couldn't even enjoy the birds but rather were always going on to the next new bird. At the end of the day we just collapsed on our beds. On another tour, it seemed that all we did was travel in the van. Many days we birded for only 3 or 4 hours; one day we birded for only an hour! We changed hotels almost every night.
Well, you get the idea. You put on a good tour!” - Bob Grosek, Binghamton, NY
“Just a belated thank you for a wonderfully organized and brilliantly led birding experience. Costa Rica is a bird watcher's paradise and I don't believe any one could have revealed it to us so skillfully. As I told Paco, if he and/or Marco would like to spend a night (or two) here when they come over in August I would be delighted. My house on the Thames is 15 minutes from Heathrow airport and 10 miles from Piccadilly Circus. I'll happily meet the plane. Paco really should see the Natural History Museum which is easily reached from here.” - Colin Hunter, England, Birds of Paradise Tour
“Our trip was fabulous! Everything about it was better than expected, but most of all, Paco, Heather, and Alberto were extraordinary.” - Marilyn Nasatir, Birds of Paradise Tour
"Thanks so much for the wonderful trip. I think everyone enjoyed themselves...I know I sure did! You run a first class operation and I encourage you to keep up the good work. Everything was marvelous--logistics, locations, knowledge, etc., etc. A special thank you goes out to Alberto. He is a fantastic person and a great driver and we all enjoyed having him with us. I wouldn't want it any other way. By the way, the final bird total was 301 species! Out of those, I saw 267 plus heard-only 10 more (ones I knew ahead of time). 54 species were AOU birds and that included 42 lifers. My 1000th AOU bird was Cinnamon Woodpecker and my 1025th was Green Hermit. Thanks for helping me reach my goal...and then some! Now, all I need is 20 more to hit 1500 on my world list! Think you can hook me up next March??? Thanks again for everything! It was a great trip and you should be proud of the company you're running and the people you work with." - Joe Hammond (trip leader Ohio Wildlife Center and owner of Kestrel Tours) Caribbean Natural Treasures Tour
"We made it home to Alexandria safe and sound and a bit wistful that our magical tour through Costa Rica with Paco and Heather had come to an end. From start to finish, it was, according to Daniel and Mark, the trip of the century. Paco, I can't imagine that there is a naturalist in Costa Rica who can come close to your knowledge and joy in sharing that knowledge. Heather, your enthusiasm, organizational skills and love of the environment played a tremendous role in making our visit such an enjoyable learning experience. Marc, your patience and willingness to work with George in the months beforehand, even with the discovery of an extra day to plan, made for a stress-free trip all around." - Paula Lader, Birds of Paradise Tour
"We just wanted to express to both of you our sincere thanks for the most wonderful experience with Cotinga Tours. This was beyond expectations. You have every reason to expect success in the future with the attention to detail this trip provided. All the accommodations were wonderful. The fact that we wanted to stay longer at each stop is testimony to that. And all the little touches, from Paco meeting us at the airport, to fresh cold fruits provided to hot/sweaty birders just off the trail, were thoughtful. Not to mention, Carlos smiling at the bus door to lend a hand. But of course, the birds and Paco's joyful enthusiasm, knowledge and skills are the real highlight. I can't wait to share the details with all my birding and non birding friends and tell them about the best guide in Costa Rica. We were honored to meet you Paco and share in your knowledge and love of your national living treasures." - Mary Ellen King: Life Birds Tour
"I wanted to say how delighted I was with the trip. It was absolutely spot on. I think the whole thing was excellent and I'm sure the guests must have enjoyed it as much as I did. I must say that from my point of view, as leader for Speyside Wildlife, I was very aware of how much organization and thought had gone into the trip and I felt we couldn't have been better looked after. To be honest you made my life very easy!!! A special word to Paco to say that he really is excellent, the best leader I have worked with, with not just an excellent knowledge of the birds but a great sense of humor and a lovely manner. I was particularly impressed with the way he remembered who had not seen particular birds and made sure that when one was seen again that person was called to the front to see it first next time. Well done and many many thanks." - Roy Atkins (trip leader: Speyside Wildlife, Great Britain) Life Birds Tour
"The group didn't just have a successful trip they had a fantastic trip. Please pass on our very grateful thanks to Paco, who was a superb leader and worked really well with both Roy and our guests." - Sally of Speyside Wildlife, Great Britain.
"Would like to take this time on behalf of my group to express the deep appreciation for a successful tour that leading by you. It is true the excellent tour we ever had, as you know some of them did go with me to other places." - C-T of C-T Ecotour Workshop, Taiwan
"Thanks for five excellent days in Costa Rica. Our experiences on this trip went well beyond anything we expected. Congratulations to Cotinga Tours for being extremely organized and customer focused. Your immediate follow-up to our initial inquiry provided us with a more focused agenda aligned with our desire to see a diversity of wildlife in Costa Rica in the short time we had available. We will actively inform others we know both socially and professionally about your exceptional services.
Paco, it was a pleasure to meet you. Your knowledge of the wildlife, culture, and history of Costa Rica provided us with a wealth of information that we will be absorbing and reflecting on for quite a while." - James Fava: 5 day tour
"Paco is an amazing guide. He knows the flora and fauna in addition to the birds. He can locate birds and relocate them when they fly off. He can even talk to the birds (no tapes are needed). I remember vividly Paco exchanging calls with a Nightingale Wren, Slaty-Breasted Tinamou and even a Black Hawk Eagle. Occasionally I needed to look at Paco to see if it was him or the bird that was calling." - Leo Hollien: Birds of Paradise Tour
"The tour was extra special in that we took our time and really saw some nice birds and behavior. We saw 68 species of which exactly half, 34, were lifers for us. The Purple-crowned Fairy was our 900th world bird. We also enjoyed the excellent lunch Paco provided, and are very pleased with the experience. I even got a few pictures of the Blue-crowned Manakin and the Pale-billed Woodpecker.
We do a lot of our birding in field trips with Audubon and the ABA. Organizing a field trip from an ocean cruise is a very different undertaking, but we are starting to be pretty good at it. When you only have five or six hours, and are under the gun to return to the ship, doing any birding at all seems a miracle. Your tour was the best by far." - Roger Van Ghent: Day Tour Carara
“Even though it has been about a month since we finished the tour with you, wonderful memories linger. Without your help and guidance Paco, I would not have seen over 50% of the birds that were logged, and not been able to identify many of those seen or heard. Because of your keen sight and hearing, combined with your extensive knowledge of the natural history of your country, made that outing such a successful tour.” - Irwin Woldman